I’ve never really made yearly resolutions, but since 2017 I have selected a word for the year. In 2017 it was Gratitude because I knew I needed that particular focus as I was facing a recent infertility diagnosis. In 2018 I chose Explore because of a big trip I had planned, as well as my desire to explore my internal struggles. This year I chose Open — I want to be open to new possibilities and new opportunities.
I have followed Christianne Squires of Bookwifery on Instagram for quite some time. I have received her monthly emails for at least a year, maybe longer. Last fall I started thinking about the possibility of writing a book, but I kept thinking, Maybe one day, when I know how the story ends. I realized that if I wait until the story ends I’ll be dead, so why not start now!
In May I began my official journey with Bookwifery — I took the initial four-week Book
Pregnancy Planning course then moved into the First Trimester course. Each week I’m given a workbook to help guide my discernment and planning. I’ve focused a lot on my voice and my audience, which I’m learning, is a big part of the book writing process. Next week, I’ll start actually thinking about the book structure and content.
It’s taken a lot of energy to be open to this process. Just getting past the midwife metaphor was hard enough. However, with online community engagement with other students, weekly check-in calls and ongoing support directly from Christianne, I know I made the right choice.
Earlier this spring I signed up for a workshop with my teacher Beth. I always gain insights from time with her, and this time was no different. I’ve participated in several of her group offerings, but I decided to take the next step and meet with her one-on-one. I shared with her some struggles I’ve been facing — most of them related to using my voice. Using my voice to speak up for what I need, for my boundaries, for myself.
It was a very powerful session of verbal communication and energy movement. She affirmed my gifts and helped me become more aware of the many ways the Spirit is leading and guiding me. Since then, I’m trying to be more open to what seemingly minute exchanges or interactions might be speaking to me.
A few weeks ago when Beth approached me about writing a monthly article for her community newsletter, I didn’t hesitate to say yes! One, I respect and admire Beth, so the fact that she wants my voice to speak into the community she created feels like an honor. Second, I’m intentionally moving toward writing opportunities that are outside of my comfort zone. Which leads me to…
An essay of mine was published on shelovesmagazine.com earlier this year! I saw a call out for essays around the topic of “Trigger Words” and took a chance in submitting a piece to them. It wasn’t initially accepted, but when a spot opened up last minute, they published it!
Similar to the other examples of “open” this year, I stepped through this door — I didn’t wait for them to come to me because that never would have happened. I had to take the first steps of engagement and when I did, it paid off!
Of course, the next essay I submitted did not get accepted and that’s okay. I haven’t had as much time recently to read their postings, but when time allows, I’ll get back into the community and work on submitting something new.
So it appears that most of my big “open” moments this year so far are related to my writing. There have been others as well — open to new or re-energized friendships, open to facilitating an eight-week Bible study at church, open to serving as a delegate to the UMC General Conference, open to slowing down a bit (maybe?).
I think it’s appropriate that my reflections on “open” posts today — the summer solstice. Here in the northern hemisphere, and especially in Indiana where we’re in the Eastern time zone, the sun shines for a long time. The day is very open, full of light and opportunity. Even as the minutes of sunlight begin to slowly fade as we turn to the second half of the year, I hope I continue to find ways to be open and to open opportunities of growth and expansion in my life.
I’ve got six more months (and the rest of my life) to practice being open and finding openings. Let’s go!